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The Aches and Pains of Juvenile Arthritis: JA Basics

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juvenile arthritis

We all know about arthritis right? Arthritis is just the aches and stiffness of getting old…right?

Not true. May is National Arthritis Month and Broadway Medical wants you to know about juvenile arthritis or JA.

What is juvenile arthritis?  Juvenile arthritis (JA) is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 (or 18) and younger.  The biggest similarity between “regular arthritis” and juvenile arthritis is the pain it causes the person who has it.

Let’s start with the basics: What is arthritis? Arthritis is not just one disease or ailment, but a family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of many different diseases or conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues, hampering or halting physical movement.

How do children “get” juvenile arthritis? There is no 100% known cause for juvenile arthritis yet. Some studies suggest that toxins, foods or allergies cause children to develop the disease, but there is no evidence to prove that.  Some research points toward a family link and genetic predisposition. In that case, a combination of genes a child receives from either their mother’s or father’s side may cause the onset of arthritis when triggered by other factors. More research is being done.

Even though juvenile arthritis is not in the news every day, the CDC estimates that 1 in 250 U.S. children under age 18 have been diagnosed with arthritis or other rheumatic conditions.

What can a family do for a child that has juvenile arthritis? Juvenile arthritis really is a family diagnosis that affects everyone, depending on the severity of the diagnosis. It is common for the parents (and grandparents) to experience sadness and guilt. It is important to remember that juvenile arthritis is a part of your child’s life not their whole life and that the child needs to be allowed to be a kid and also treated with the same rights and responsibilities as other children in the family.

Broadway Medical carries home medical equipment and supplies for all family members like braces and supports, and mobility scooters.